Singapore deregulates mail delivery

Postal reform has stalled in many countries, but last week Singapore proved a happy exception. The city-state committed to open its market for "basic mail" service to foreign and domestic competition, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • The announcement mandates Singapore's media and communications regulator to end Singapore Post's (SingPost) monopoly on delivery of letters and postcards on April 1.

  • The move completes a cycle of privatisation that started in the 1970s, when the city-state liberalised mailing of printed papers and parcels.

    Despite the liberalisation, not all barriers were broken down; the announcement did come with a few caveats, says the Journal:

  • SingPost will keep a firm grasp on the so-called "master keys" that provide access to apartment-building mailboxes.

  • Any new delivery service will be obliged to either spend the money to go door-to-door or pay SingPost a carry fee to deposit letters in mailboxes.

  • Anyone who wants to set up a full-blown competing mail service must acquire a licence that will require the company to set up a collection and distribution infrastructure to rival SingPost's – a prohibitive cost that's expected to deter many new entrants from undertaking island-wide mail service.

    Nevertheless, the move will benefit many businesses, most of which are concentrated around the city-state's downtown strip. The liberalisation of basic mail marks a major step toward competition, which could see SingPost losing as much as 15 per cent of its current market share by 2010.

    Source: Editorial, SingPost Smarts, Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2007.

    For text:

    For more on Privatization Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 20 February 2007
  • Help FMF promote the rule of law, personal liberty, and economic freedom become an individual member / donor HERE ... become a corporate member / donor HERE